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Dr Aafia’s ordeal echoes in Senate

ISLAMABAD: Details regarding the case of Pakistani scientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently in US custody, would be shared with the house today (Friday), after getting the information from the Foreign Office, Leader of the House Senator Raza Rabbani told the Senate on Thursday.

Responding to points of order raised by three senators on the issue, Rabbani said that the Pakistan People’s Party-led government was not responsible for the ordeal of Siddiqui because she had gone missing during the tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, in 2003.

He said the present government did not approve of the “abduction policy” practised by the previous government. “The government has taken notice of the case…we have contacted the US authorities and further details in this regard would be provided to the house tomorrow (Friday),” he said.

Rabbani added that the Senate Human Rights’ Committee, headed by Senator SM Zafar, was already addressing the issue of missing people including the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui. He said a committee of the Ministry of Interior was also probing the issue.

Earlier, Senator Saadia Abbasi, Senator Professor Muhammad Ibrahim and Senator Kamran Murtaza called for a high-level probe through a special committee of the legislators to look into the circumstances under which Pakistani national Siddiqui was arrested and handed over to the US in 2003.

Speaking on points of order, they said the issue was of critical importance, and related to human rights and the sovereignty of the country.

Abbasi said that the issue should be taken up at the highest level, as it was a violation of individual human rights as well as of the whole nation.

Professor Ibrahim said that while the “abduction” of Siddiqui was a matter of violation of human rights, it had also insulted the dignity of the nation.

Endorsing the concerns expressed by his colleagues, Murtaza suggested constituting a special committee to probe the handing over of many Pakistani nationals to the US in exchange for bounty.

“It is for the first time in the history of the country that governments were involved in this kind of ‘illegal trading’. The authorities should take serious note of the situation and take steps to recover these missing people,” Murtaza added.

The Senate resumed its proceedings on Thursday with Presiding Officer Dr Safdar Abbasi in the chair.
Source: Daily Times

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